© Nordea Open/Johan Lilja

Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez celebrate their third ATP Tour title of the year in Bastad on Sunday.

Matos/Vega Hernandez Save MP, Clinch Bastad Crown

Brazilian-Spanish pairing claims third tour-level title of season in Sweden

Despite only teaming for the first time in March, Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez’s fledgling partnership continues to impress.

The Brazilian-Spanish duo picked up its third ATP Tour title in the space of just four months with a dramatic 6-4, 3-6, 13-11 championship match victory against Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini at the Nordea Open in Bastad on Sunday.

“[We are] super happy, because we started so well this week,” said Vega Hernandez after the match. “Then we won the quarter-final, the semi-final and the final in Match Tie-breaks. I’m very, very happy to finish with the title.”

“We have played the last four months together, but we had never played before,” said Matos. “I think it’s working. We are really good friends, on the court and off the court, so I think that helps. [It makes] a difference for our team. I am just happy, and we [hope] to keep going like this because we want more. We are going to try to play [at the Nitto ATP Finals] in Turin.”

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Matos and Vega Hernandez won the title in their first tour-level tournament together in Marrakech in April, while the pair also lifted a trophy on the grass in Mallorca in June. Having also reached the final in Munich and the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, the duo’s tour-level record this season now stands at 18-4. The triumph in Bastad could lift the pair as high as No. 15 in Monday's update of the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings.

Yet things were not straightforward on Sunday in Sweden. Matos and Vega Hernandez had already let slip two championship points of their own in the Match Tie-break when Bolelli and Fognini had the opportunity to clinch a fifth tour-level crown together at 10/9. Fourth seeds Matos and Vega Hernandez held their nerve under pressure to see off the danger, however, going onto convert their fourth championship point to seal a one-hour, 35-minute triumph.

“We started better in the first set, and then in the second we [were broken] in a game that was not our best in the match,” said Matos. “The Match Tie-break was very exciting, 13/11, match point for both sides. We just played good in the right moments, and it worked.”

As a result of their strong 2022 season, both No. 38 Matos and No. 39 Vega Hernandez had arrived in Bastad occupying career-high spots in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings.